Police on Sunday charged a 71-year-old suburban Chicago man with a hate crime for fatally stabbing a six-year-old boy and seriously wounding a 32-year-old woman, alleging he singled out both victims because of their Islamic faith and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas, The Associated Press reported.
“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement posted to social media and quoted by AP.
Officers found both victims late Saturday morning at a home in an unincorporated area of Plainfield Township, roughly 65 kilometers southwest of Chicago.
The boy, who was pronounced dead at the hospital, was stabbed 26 times with a large military-style knife, an autopsy found. The woman had more than a dozen stab wounds on her body. She remained hospitalized Sunday, but was expected to survive.
The man suspected of the crime was found Saturday outside “sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence” with a cut on his forehead, police said.
He was in custody on Sunday and awaiting a court appearance. Police have charged him with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crimes and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to AP.